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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 29, 2014 10:38 AM
From: Representative Mauree Gingrich
To: All House members
Subject: Proposed Legislation – Neglect/Abuse of Care Dependent Persons
In the near future, I am planning to reintroduce legislation amending Title 18 (Crimes Code) to further provide for the offense of neglect of a care-dependent person, and to create the offense of abuse of a care-dependent person. The need for this initiative first arose from cases in my district involving the neglect and abuse of care-dependent persons by caretakers in personal care homes. The language of my bill is intended to close a serious gap that exists in current law.

Neglect of care-dependent person – Section 2713, Crimes Code

Under current section 2713, a caretaker commits the offense of neglect of a care-dependent person if he:
  • Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury by failing to provide treatment, care, goods, or services necessary to the health, safety, or welfare of the care-dependent person; or
  • Intentionally or knowingly uses physical restraint, chemical restraint or isolates a care-dependent person contrary to law or regulations such that bodily injury results.
Under my legislation, a caretaker would also commit this offense of neglect if he intentionally or knowingly endangers the welfare of a care-dependent person for whom he is responsible to provide care by failing to provide treatment, care, goods or services necessary to preserve the person’s health, safety or welfare. The offense would be a 2nd degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to two years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $5,000. If it is determined that there is a course of conduct of such offense, the penalty would increase to a 3rd degree felony, punishable by up to 7 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $15,000.

Abuse of care-dependent person – new section 2713.1.Crimes Code

This new offense would be triggered by the actions of the caretaker who intends to harass, annoy or alarm a care-dependent person by:
  • Striking, shoving, kicking or otherwise subjecting, attempting to subject or threatening a care-dependent person with physical contact;
  • Engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts which serve no legitimate purposes;
  • Communicating to a care-dependent person any lewd, lascivious, threatening or obscene words, language, drawings or caricatures ; or
  • Communicating repeatedly with the care-dependent person at extremely inconvenient hours.
A person convicted under this new subsection would commit a 1st degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to five years in jail and/or a fine of $10,000. Further, the new offense would establish a 3rd degree felony penalty for a caretaker who commits the offense of stalking (Section 2709.1) against a care-dependent person.

As you can see, my legislation is intended to address neglectful, abusive and harassing behavior on the part of caretakers towards care-dependent persons: behavior which may not otherwise be sufficiently punishable under current law. I think it is important that the Commonwealth continue to support and protect these individuals that cannot effectively care for themselves.

Introduced as HB215